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Updated on May 8, 2011
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Will You Be A Beggar ?


A few people were standing at a bus stop in Mumbai waiting for the bus. A sadhu looking man dressed in dirty grey clothes and wearing a ‘rudraksh mala’ came and started asking for alms in the name of ‘Lord Krishna’ and ‘Lord Rama’ Many people gave him some money. In the end he counted the money he had collected then thought for a minute. Then he hired a rikshaw which was standing nearby and went away. The people at the bus stop looked in amazement at the disappearing rikshaw.

Beggar earns more than an executive

A man dressed in business suit was walking towards his office. He heard a voice from the side, ‘In the name of Rama please give some money to buy food.’ The man looked around. He saw a beggar sitting on the side of the street, stretching his hand towards him and looking at him anxiously. The man came near the beggar, looked at him. The beggar’s cloths were very dirty and torn a many places, he had a overgrown beard, his hair were all full of dust and tangled and looked like had not been washed for many months.

The man said, ‘You look like a strong and healthy man. I don’t think you are starving. You should be working instead of begging like this.’

‘Oh ya, and who will give me the work ?’

‘Are you educated ?’

The beggar first hesitated to say anything but then made a bold decision and said, ’I am a B.A. graduate from Mumbai university. I tried to get a job and applied at many places, but without influence who will give me a job ?’

‘I can get you a job’ said the man after thinking for a minute.

‘How much will they pay me?’ asked the beggar.

‘You can get as much as 10,000.00’ a month, said the man.

‘And how much are you getting, if I may know’ inquired the beggar.

‘I am in a good position,’ said the man with some pride, ‘I get Rs.25,000.00 a month.’

‘Is that all ? Will you be interested in earning Rs.40,000 a month ?’ asked the beggar.

The man was surprised. He could not believe what this beggar was telling him. But just out of curiosity he asked, ‘and what kind of job is that?’

‘Just come and sit in my place here, like beggar and beg. I get in begging about Rs.60,000.00 month. But I have to take my family for a holiday and looking for a person who will keep my place here. You keep Rs.40000.00 and whatever extra you get, give it to me.’

Car for a Beggar

Just while they were talking, a brand new Indigo car came and stopped near them. A young man, dressed in modern stylish clothes came out and told the beggar, ‘Dad, our new car has been delivered. Want to come for a ride ?’

Could be true stories

Jokes aside, both these could be true story in the life of some beggar.

Instances have been reported where a lot of money, sometimes in lakhs of rupees, is found under or inside the dirty mattress of a beggar after his/her death. Unemployment is so rampant that there will be no surprise if even a highly educated person has turned to begging.

But professional begging is equally well known wherein a person intentionally chooses begging as a career. In the movie ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ it is shown how young children are turned into beggars.

A Job Not Good Enough

Bhagat is such a person who has chosen begging as his career. He has a masters degree and had a reasonably good job. But he was not satisfied with his job. The income was barely enough to support his family and live in a rented room in an old dilapidated ‘Chawl’(old multi-storey building of small rooms). He had no hope of buying a flat in a good area and provide good education to his children. First he experimented begging as a part time. Soon he was getting as much as he was getting in his full time job.

Professional Begging

So he gave up the job and adopted begging as his profession. He selected the elite area where all the wealthy people and many movie stars choose to come around. He designed his make up such that you will really feel pity for him and give him some money. In the beginning even his family did not know what he was doing. He would leave home dressed to go to the office, then he would go to a small room which he had rented just for this purpose, change his makeup, and go for begging. After a few years in this profession he had enough money to buy a flat in Parel (value Rs. 8,000,000 = US$160,000) His two children are getting educated in a private school. Mind you it is all tax free. In the cash economy of Mumbai, there is no problem in buying a flat with all cash.

Begging in the name of a charity

I have seen beggars in Australia, Los Angeles, New York, Paris, Hamburg, Dubai, etc. although of course not in as big a number as you will find in Asian countries. I have always wondered what is the ‘nett worth’ of these beggars. Also they have different style of begging as by law they are not allowed to beg on the street.

I had come across a man who had prepared his ID with photograph in the name of some charity. There are over 3000 registered charities. So you would not know all of them. He would visit as many houses as possible in a day and may get between two and ten dollars from many people. In a day he was getting 200 to 300 dollars. Not bad reward for a day’s walking exercise ! For the city size of Melbourne, he may not have to visit the same house twice in a decade.

So, what do you think ? Want to swap your job ?

Not recommending !

No, I would not recommend anybody to be a beggar. Do you think just for the sake of money, begging is a good profession ? Although money is important, it is not everything. What about your self-esteem ? A beggar has no self-esteem. Begging is at the lowest level of the social structure. No one looks at a beggar with any respect. They only have petty for the beggar. And specially if a person has some kind of education, certainly the education must develop in him some self-respect. Consider that little shoe-polish boy ( Even at this small age he has more self-respect for himself than that educated beggar. Although his father remained a coolly, though uneducated, he perhaps has a better life. May be he occasionally gives alms to that ‘educated beggar’. His son, in future will probably avail the opportunities of getting some education and make progress in life. A life without self-respect is not a life worth living.

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    • PRAVIN VAGHANI profile image

      PRAVIN VAGHANI 7 years ago from 3101 KEW AUSTRALIA

      It is very sad, isn't it? I wouldn't recommend it ! I only presented the reality as I have come to know.(A recent news item) I haave known this since the early stage of my life and since then always hesitated to give anything to a beggar. But why do we have a social structure in which there is 'unemploymenet' ? No person is unemployable and no one should be denied the life's sustanance.

    • kirstenblog profile image

      kirstenblog 7 years ago from London UK

      I find this really sad, that holding down a productive job no longer provides a good life and is a harder life then begging, something about that seems really wrong. I also wonder how long people will give to beggars if they learn that the beggars may make more money then they do! If a person really does need to resort to begging how long will they be able to before people become to jaded to feel charitable to someone in real need? This is why I feel sad about this situation.